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After the HOS exceptions, the infractions increased

The reasons that led to the increase in violations during rest hours are not yet known. The history.

At the end of 2020, four rules came into force that increased flexibility in the rest of truck and plane drivers. Now an analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has determined that HOS violations are on the rise. In order to analyze them, two periods were compared: that of the change prior to the rule, which was from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2020, and a period after the change, which was from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.

In the analysis, sent to Congress, it was determined that the violations were “significantly higher” in terms of rest hours, something that did not occur with accidents according to this Administration.

What were the exceptions? Changes were included for short-haul pilots, two more hours of driving allowed in adverse weather conditions were added, more berths were provided for sleeping, and the mandatory eight-hour driving rest was made more flexible.

For all this, Congress asked the FMCSA to analyze the two years prior to the implementation of these changes and the two years after. In addition, the “safety data” was requested, including, but not limited to, the number of crashes, the type of crash, the number of fatalities classified by occupant type, the number of serious injuries, the rate of involvement that large trucks have accidents, and the time of day and on what type of road the accident occurred”.

There is still no official conclusion that explains the increase in offenses related to HOS. It is believed that the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with more thorough inspections may have influenced the result.

“The data does not show a significant difference in accident or fatality rates, although it is important to note that initial trends may have been confounded by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on industry operations and the declaration of FMCSA emergency that provided HOS regulatory relief for commercial motors, vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of COVID-19 relief efforts”, detailed in the analysis.

What were the FMCSA rules implemented in 2020?

With the idea of providing greater flexibility to motor carriers, these regulations were approved in the HOS that came into effect on September 29, 2020.

Short Haul Exception: Allows for a 14-hour shift to be carried out as part of the exception on short-haul flights of up to 150 air miles.

Exception for adverse driving conditions. Increase driving time in adverse conditions by up to two extra hours.

Rest of 30 minutes. Requires a break of at least 30 consecutive minutes when the driver has accumulated 8 hours of driving time and allows time on duty or non-driving to qualify as rest.

Sleeping bunks. “Amends the cabin exception to allow a driver to meet the minimum 10-hour off-duty requirement by spending at least 7 hours of that period in the cabin combined with a minimum off-duty period of at least 2 hours spent inside or outside berth, provided that the two periods add up to at least 10 hours. When used together as specified, neither qualifying period counts against the 14-hour driving window”, the FMCSA ends.

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